|By BRIAN HEWITT|
|By MERCER BAGGS|
Editorial Manager, GolfChannel.com
The envelope please: Its Monty. And, despite all the inevitable second-guessing that will follow, its the correct choice.
Dont you just know the tabloids are going to have a field day with this? Imagine the headlines: Celtic Colin. Prince of Whales Ready, Aim, Doubtfire.
Colin Montgomerie, newly-anointed as Europes next Ryder Cup captain has, for years, been a target for every cheapshot artist in and around the game of golf. And to be fair, even to the cheapshotters, the voluble Montgomerie often brings much of this upon himself.
You may not like the stuffy Scot because of the ill-tempered manner in which he handles bad days. He has never won a major championship, or any event, for that matter on the PGA Tour. Fact is, Montgomerie doesnt have a whole lot of friends on the other side of the pond either.
Until, that is, it comes to the Ryder Cup, an event that biennially transforms him from a goof to a god in the eyes of Europe.
Montys record in eight Ryder Cups (only three of which Europe lost) is a sparkling 20-9-7. His record in Ryder Cup singles, 6-0-2, speaks for itself. Loudly.
He is an absolute warrior and a totally different person during Ryder Cup weeks and that is why, at the still contemporary age of 45, he is the right pick for the job.
Jose Maria Olazabal, an almost certain future captain, had his chances to show Europes committee he wanted to captain Europe at Celtic Manor in Wales in 2010. But he never fully weighed in, choosing instead to try playing his way onto the team.
Montgomerie, who won a record seven straight Order of Merit titles not all that long ago, probably would have preferred to wait until the Ryder Cup comes to Gleneagles in his native land of Scotland in 2014. But European officials didnt like the age difference between their last pick, Nick Faldo, and the players on a team that got thrashed by the U.S. last fall in Kentucky.
Now he will run the next big show for Europe, to whom the Ryder Cup has always meant more to than most Americans. And its best that he will be captaining in Europe.
Montgomerie, you see, has rabbit ears. American fans would have had a field day with him, riding around in a cart at Valhalla. In Wales, he will be a prince.
I'm not going to say they made the wrong choice, because that isn't determined until the Ryder Cup actually plays out. But ... Ian Woosnam seemed the logical selection with the 2010 competition being contested in Wales.
Woosie, however, didn't seem to have the best relationship with the selection committee, namely Thomas Bjorn, which might have hurt his chances. Or, perhaps, they just didn't want a repeat captain.
Bernard Gallacher and Tony Jacklin were the only two men for the job for 12 years, yet no one has doubled up since 1995.
But the committee wanted Monty and they got their man. Fortunately they didn't name the 2012 captain. This isn't college football; you don't have to name a successor. It's not like you have to worry about Jose Maria Olazabal renouncing his Spanish citizenship, declaring himself an Argentine and leading the 2011 International Presidents Cup team?
Aside from the competition being held in Wales and Woosie being a Welshman, the reason I wasn't overwhelmed with the Monty pick was because I don't like the idea of someone taking on the captain's role when he could be a playing member.
Monty has said he won't earn points, thus ending any and all notion that he may want to be a playing-captain in two years. Obviously he didn't qualify for the European squad in 2008, but why give up what could be your last chance in 2010?
He certainly wasn't going to be named captain at a U.S. site, which is where the '12 Matches will be contested (Medinah), but the 2014 Cup will be held in Gleneagles, Scotland. Seems like the perfect fit.
European officials weren't fond of the generation gap between their last captain, Nick Faldo, and his players, which is one reason they wanted to get Monty to be captain ASAP.
This, however, is a ridiculous notion. Age makes no difference between a captain and his team as long as there is mutual respect between the two sides. Monty may not be well liked by the whole of Europe, but players will get along just fine with him as their leader ' even in 2014.